Why is now the time to run fiber optic cable? Fiber is the key to stable, high-bandwidth installations that are affordable, even when compared to copper installation costs. The long-term benefits of fiber also outweigh those of any other communications medium due to fiber’s high bandwidth capacity. Learn more about fiber’s benefits and its implementation in our Guide to Specifying Fiber webinar.
High data throughput at high speeds
Fiber optic data capacity is unmatched by any other major communications medium. In March of 2020, Nokia Bell Labs sent a massive single carrier bit rate of 1.52 terabits/second over 80 km (50 miles) of standard single mode fiber. As Nokia helpfully noted, this is the same as streaming 1.5 million YouTube videos all at the same time! While this is a world record, it only goes to show the massive capacity of fiber optic cabling. In fact, in lab environments with specialized fibers, researchers have transmitted 100 terabits per second over optical fiber.
However, we won’t see transmission rates like those in premise applications for some time. Even though component costs have come down significantly, transmitters and receivers able to handle multiple terabits/second are still prohibitively expensive. However, it’s vital to realize that fiber is the only medium that can handle system infrastructures’ ever-increasing speed demands. Single mode fiber’s modal bandwidth capacity is theoretically infinite. Its huge transmission capacity is limited only by chromatic dispersion and the electronics in use.
To reinforce the above, fiber is the primary choice for long distance applications. For more standard, but still impressive, applications, multimode OM4 fiber can transmit 100 Gb Ethernet (100 GbE) up to approximately to 500 feet or 150 meters. The frequently less costly OM3 grade multimode can send 100 Gbps approximately 330 ft or 100 meters, and 10 Gbps up to 1000 feet (300 meters). Single mode fiber again, can transmit even more data farther.
Read more on distance limitations for fiber optic applications.
Why do data packets get dropped or arrive at the wrong time? High latency. Latency is just one of many reasons to implement fiber infrastructures. Fiber connections typically have low error rates, translating to fewer processing delays. Very importantly, fiber is also resistant to electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference. Due to fiber’s noise resistance and high bandwidth, the ITU-T standard for GPON networks specifies signal transfer delay as below 1.5 ms for distances up to 20 km.
Non-conductive and resistant to corrosion
By virtue of optical fiber being glass, it is non-conductive and therefore resistant to lightning and EMP. Again, due to the non-metallic nature of fiber, it is immune to electromagnetic and RF interference, unlike copper. Fiber cables are also less susceptible to corrosion from humidity, salt content, and other corrosive elements.
Durable and easier to terminate
While traditional optical fibers can be cumbersome to terminate, Cleerline SSF™ fiber allows fiber termination in less than one minute. The SSF™ glass fibers are constructed with a patented polymer coating at the glass level for increased durability and flexibility. No need to worry about dangerous glass shards! The coating also allows incredible bend and increased durability over traditional fibers.
Lightweight and compact
Our 12 strand micro distribution cable holds twelve individual optical fibers within a 3.0 mm outer diameter cable. Compare that to a bulky, shielded category cable. Which would you rather carry or install?
Fiber optic costs have decreased dramatically over the years. The typical cost of a thousand feet of duplex fiber optic cable is now in line with the typical cost of 1000 ft of Cat6A, while providing exponentially better performance!
Similarly, budget-friendly fiber optic components are now available. With a wide variety of switches and converters now available at more reasonable price points, building out a fiber optic network is simple and accessible.
Ready for the future
If there’s one thing to be sure of, it’s that bandwidth demands are not going to decrease. Fiber optic cable has massive capacity for future transmission requirements. Uncompressed transmission of the data needed for both networks and upcoming 8K signals and beyond requires fiber utilization.
Fiber is the high bandwidth solution for successful installations- today and tomorrow.